Developing Sustainable Surfactants

The R&D Behind Our Water-Saving Products

Adding value to raw materials with limited applications has led to the development of a sustainable surfactant

Kao has a long track record in producing fatty alcohol from oil palm fruit. In fact, we are one of the world's largest manufacturers and suppliers of oil palm-derived industrial alcohol, which is used in the Kao Group's various household products. Our proprietary technology has enabled us to make effective use of high carbon number alcohols (C16 and C18) that were previously considered to have limited applications. This breakthrough has led to the development of Bio IOS, a sustainable surfactant that is used in our new concentrated liquid detergent Attack ZERO.

Oil palm fruit

Increases in the world's population have led to concerns about a future shortage of detergents. Faced with that challenge, our success in turning a raw material with limited applications into a key ingredient for detergents has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities.
With the development of this sustainable surfactant Bio IOS, Kao was given the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Award of The 20th (2020) Green and Sustainable Chemistry Award.

A revolutionary surfactant that cleans effectively and helps save water

Back when cotton fabrics made up the bulk of our clothing, doing the laundry meant removing simple stains such as sebum and dirt. In recent years, however, stain removal has become more complex due to the development of functional synthetic fabrics. Lifestyle changes have also led to changes in laundry routines. People now do laundry less frequently and wash larger loads at a time. That, coupled with the increased use of drum-type washers, means that clothes are now being washed in less water than before. The decrease in water has made it difficult for detergents to work effectively, resulting in the accumulation of oils and stains.

Improving cleaning power while reducing environmental impact

Bio IOS, the surfactant used in Attack ZERO, is extremely effective in confronting such issues. Its distinctive molecular structure has both higher surface activity and superior water-solubility. (Generally, these properties are incompatible). As a result, it removes stains and odors effectively.
Attack ZERO also doesn't leave behind residue, despite being used with just one rinse cycle. Therefore, CO2 emissions associated with Attack ZERO's life cycle* are reduced by 32% compared to conventional liquid detergents that require two rinse cycles.

  • * Product life cycle: All the processes involved with a product, including raw materials procurement, manufacturing, distribution, and waste disposal.
    The amount of water and electricity needed for those stages and consumer use is also included.

Bio IOS molecular structure model

Kao will continue to develop environmentally friendly products with improved cleaning power.

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